Farmer narrowly escapes death after attacker’s gun fails

A Middelburg farmer shielded his face with his hand while his attacker tried to shoot him, but the gun never fired correctly.

“I just held my hand out in his direction, not that it would have helped. He cocked the weapon, but each time he pulled the trigger, it failed. The bullet never went into the barrel.

“He didn’t pull the slide back enough,” Leon Bester told Middelburg Observer while describing the events that took place on his farm in Groenfontein on Saturday morning.

Leon Bester, who is grateful that a farm attacker’s gun failed. Photo: Daleen Naude

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Bester’s dogs began barking early on Saturday morning. At first, nothing could be seen that could have disturbed them, until he saw a man walk around the corner towards the farm.

His wife, Ans, stood at the door. She said the man was looking for a Mr Mtsweni and that she replied he didn’t live here, but at a farm next door. It was then that the man allegedly became overconfident.

“He was fluent in Afrikaans and after she told him a few more times that Mtsweni is not here, he turned around and walked away.”

Ans and Leon did notice that he walked away in the opposite direction than the one he was told to go in.

After a while, he disappeared behind the farm’s storage area, and Bester decided to go looking for him. Without thinking, he left his cellphone behind and got into his bakkie to drive in the direction he last saw the man.

“The next moment he grabbed my arm, which was resting on the open window and leaned on it with his full weight. I tried to drive away, but he held on and began hitting me with wire cutters. He grabbed the bakkie’s keys and threw them into the veld.”

Bester protected his head with one hand while a scuffle ensued between the men. With his other hand, he felt around for something to protect himself with and grabbed hold of a pair of binoculars.

After Bester hit the suspect several times, he loosened his grip and went to stand a metre away from the bakkie.

Due to an old hip injury, Bester was unable to jump out of the bakkie to find his keys to get away from his attacker.

“He took a small pistol out of his bag, which looked to me like a 6.35, and tried to assemble it and pulled the trigger.”

After the attacker had several unsuccessful attempts to pull the trigger, he walked away, but returned to the bakkie and Bester.

“During the scuffle, his beanie fell into the bakkie, and he told me to give it back to him.”

Shortly afterwards, the man walked away and disappeared from sight.

Bester then realised he had no phone to call for help, but noticed that the attacker had also dropped his cellphone in the bakkie.

“I used his cellphone, which only had one number on it, to call my wife to tow my car back inside.”

The attacker is still at large.

This article was translated from Afrikaans by Nica Schreuder

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